Prior to returning to graduate school and coming to Arizona State University to pursue a Ph.D. in sustainable engineering, I taught high school math and chemistry for three years. I earned my Master's degree in secondary education with a dual certification in those two subjects. I spent a significant amount of my free time during my undergraduate career as a tutor and teaching assistant. I also taught math, chemistry and physics through a program for high achieving high school students through the University of Pittsburgh.
Over the years I have developed a philosophy of teaching that encourages students to develop an appetite for learning and methods by which they can teach themselves directly from their textbooks and the vast array of online resources. Gaining independence to learn on your own not only aids in classroom instruction but also makes the learning process much more rewarding for everyone involved.
In teaching math I place a strong emphasis on mastering the basics so that students can develop a strong number sense that often does not get established as students try to simply write what the teacher writes and hope they can understand later. One of the keys to exercising this numerical understanding is getting to know the student and their interests and create hypothetical problem situations that speak to those interests. In this regard my experience as an engineering student and researcher provide a great framework to stretch students' thinking. In terms of teaching general chemistry the idea is the same. Another key is helping students develop strategies for solving problems in an effective manner that is comfortable and can be enhanced as they progress through high school and beyond. For advanced students who have a good grasp of the basics the goal is to maintain those basics and simultaneously stretch students to think outside of the scope of what they have been learning and relate those lessons to real world applications.
I have enjoyed working with students for many years in many capacities and while I cannot commit the time to it that I once did I look forward to positively impacting the lives of anyone who I have the privilege to teach.
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